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tv   Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony for Monuments Men  CSPAN  November 27, 2015 1:40am-2:16am EST

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the other side of the house. and ken burns, most of us know him, makes documentaries about baseball. his first documentary was on congress. and i happened to start watching it the other night where it starts out great scholars and talking about compromise. the institution we know is built on compromise. i don't think we are hearing a lot of that this day, and that is disappointing. i came here to make sure that we have to work of the people done. it's and it doesn't seem that everybody is focused on that. now is not the way to go for it. there's a delay common ground we should be all to make, and that only happens when we sit down and have what i call adult discussions. the fact that we are talking about shutting down government now it's just unbelievable to me.
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host: on the issue of compromise, we see that in the headlines. what about the one-on-one with members. you have been on the opposite side. is it your sense that you can find compromise and areas of agreement number two member? mr. norcross: actually, we can. and that is important to start to build those relationships, which i have. obviously, i am a democrat and a half then all my life. but when it comes to making those decisions when you're on the floor of the house, i am not a democrat, i am not a republican. i represent the people of my district. my very first vote was on the keystone pipeline. to me, it was clear, and i campaigned on it, that this is about jobs for america. it had not been too long since we had the odd and even days of the gas rationing. it is important to make sure we have enough natural resources here in this country.
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so i voted in favor of the pipeline, which put me at odds with many people in my party, but, again, it is important to vote for the people that you represent. host: and on that issue, i read something that you said as a during the debate or after about the jobs. a number of members were saying these would only create temporary jobs. mr. norcross: that was one of those moments that i won't soon forget. host: very jobs -- those temporary jobs is what i did my entire life. the construction industry by nature is a number of jobs throughout your lifetime that is temporary. you start the building, you finish, you move on. there's probably a lack of
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understanding by most members of what the construction industry does. in the constructing -- construction of the pipeline, there are probably a number of jobs that are done when the pipeline is done. but it will ultimately feed the refineries. host: and because of that temporary nature of the work you did, you have been on unemployment before. mr. norcross: yes, i have. anybody who has been in the construction industry typically will go through it. when it snows and wednesday whether is bad, you might not work and you might be laid off. certainly, yes, i remember being on unemployment. host: you have been a democrat all your life. did you grow up that way in terms of your family and talk about politics around the dinner table? mr. norcross: well, my father was a union leader in southern new jersey. back in 1972, my mother ran as a delegate for hubert humphrey. i remember running around the
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neighborhood handing out flyers, and that was sort of my opening. and certainly being with my father as you go around to the different sites as a union leader and talking about -- making sure that workers were treated respectfully and they had the dignity of a pension and health care. host: did your mom make it to the convention? mr. norcross: she nominated my father for vice president. i think you got one vote. [laughter] my mother. [laughter] host: back in the days when you -- mr. norcross: when you could do that. host: sounds like your dad's experience in the union was pretty formative to you could do you learn how to balance work and politics and your family life with your wife and three kids? mr. norcross: i am still working on that. certainly before i got into the more formal side of being elected as a public official, my children were not grown.
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but to this job is all-consuming. it will take every bit of your life and your time if you allow it. trying to find that balance is something that i'm still searching for. i'm getting a little bit better now, but the fact of the matter is it is a job that requires your attention, and certainly we need to put the time and, but that only comes with the balance of your personal life because of your personal life is in havoc, your neck ring to make a very good representative. host: and one more thing you have to throw in their as you already have an announced challenger in 2016 for the democratic nomination. for the primary. how do you go about keeping that in mind, planning for an election, and trying to get the work done? mr. norcross: cause of the different cycles in the offices i ran towards, i had ran five
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out of the last six years, so i fully expected a challenge to quite frankly, that is america. i fully expect to have a challenge. and i'm very happy with being able to advocate on behalf of the people of the first district. host: what should we know -- we talked a little bit about the issues -- what you we talk about the district itself? mr. norcross: the district runs immediately adjacent to philadelphia on the delaware river from the northern end down along camden county. it was a district that was industrial based. the rca started there. and it is becoming re-industrialized and reinvigorated. chemical plant, very heavy industrial. hard-working men and women are just want to put a days work in and get a fair days pay. so from the riverside out to -- we call it the garden state.
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we have some rural areas in the southern and to the eastern parts. but we are a bedroom community in some ways. but now camden city is being reinvigorated. we had a $1 billion project announced two days ago. it should be interesting to see people moving back to the city. host: what are your aspirations politically? mr. norcross: waking up tomorrow and doing the job that i have today. i have never looked forward to moving into another job opportunity -- i'm just so proud and honored to represent the people of the first district. if i do this the rest of my life, i would be a very happy person.
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host: congressman radel norcross of new jersey, thanks for being our guest. here is a preview. we apologized when someone was upset. to replace whatever they were upset about or make it right. you could not make him happy, i or one of my managers would say -- maybe this restaurant is not for you. we bent over backwards, two times, and the third time, we it knowledge to that there are other restaurants. >> did that happen? >> many times. the customers would frequently ask for the manager. when they were unhappy with
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that. they would ask for the owner. it sounds very harsh. sometimes, you just have to draw the line. mostly, in the hospitality industry, you have to be really responsible to your clients or you are out of the business. the restaurant business is notoriously hard. you have to respect your clients. that has always been reflected in my work in politics. you have to go to the people who do not care for you and listen to them. strictly with no political experience whatsoever. i did not have the political capital or connections. what we did have was something that was across community lines. i spent time in inner cities in places like cleveland and baltimore and tried to build relationships.
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was trying to understand that the relationship comes before the policy. when you build genuine relationships, you have earned the right to share what you believe. >> what would you tell someone who says -- i want to be in congress? and has no real experience? >> i would tell them, follow your heart. many have said to me that this was impossible. i believed it was something i was being led to do. i put together some people that we trusted in the community and we launched an organizational charge. we began to establish those relationships and we were able to get into the 20 election to earn a seat in congress. >> if you watch the rest of these congressional freshmen profile, friday morning. here on c-span. >> four days of nonfiction books
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and authors, this holiday weekend on seas and -- on c-span. booky, it is them miami fair. our all-day coverage starts at 8:00 a.m. featuring author talks and interviews. towards mason university. on the 14 acre plot at arlington cemetery known as section 60. roberta kaplan who argue the case of the the united states against windsor which is struck down the defense of marriage act. >> we filed a case and i got a call from the trial level attorney saying that we needed 30 days. we are thinking about what we need to do in the case and we need time to decide. i did not believe her. i thought she was stalling. i do not get to be a plaintiff --.that much and also,
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i was very worried to make sure that when the case was over, that 80 was alive and able to enjoy it. i told the government, no extension. >> she is interviewed by zoe tillman. what book tv all weekend, every weekend on c-span2. the congressional gold medal, along with the presidential medal of freedom is the highest civilian honor in the united days. at the museum of american finance in new york city, an artist talks about how the medals are designed and awarded. this is an hour and 10 minutes. david: good afternoon, welcome to our friends from the c-span audience. what that means for our audience, during the question-and-answer period, please wait for your question until the microphone, so everyone can hear.
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i am david cowan. i'm president of the museum of american finance. i am joined by the chair, john herzog. this is a bond from about 220 years ago, signed by none other than the father of our country, george washington. this is george washington's bond. from about 60 years ago, this document is a share certificate in rko, owned by howard hughes, signed right here. and the point today, what do those two men have in common? and the answer is that both received the congressional gold medal. today, we will hear from joel iskowitz, who has designed them. including one design for the
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apollo 11 mission, the original moon landing mission. joel has a voluminous volume of work. you have seen it coins, journals, stamps. he has designed over 2000 stamps for 40 different countries. his artwork hangs in the pentagon, the capital, the white house. but my favorite is that it has actually been on a ride on a space shuttle. it is my pleasure to introduce joel iskowitz. [applause] joel: thank you so much. good afternoon everybody. i went to thank everyone for coming. thank you, david, for that very, very wonderful introduction. i want to thank a couple of individuals just before i begin. john herzog, the founder of this beautiful institution and
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chairman emeritus. i also want to thank my very good friend constantine, who creates wonderful ideas, this being one of them hopefully. then i speak to you about designing congressional gold medals from my perspective. i also want to thank christian, who is held my hand through the process, making sure everything works well. that the slide presentation goes well. and i also certainly want to thank, last in this case but not least by any means, jimmy. who truly made this event a possibility from my standpoint, she invested a lot of time and energy in interviewing me for trying to find out the story
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behind the congressional gold medal's from my vantage point, my point of view. that is really what i will be doing here. when i realized that i would be speaking at this very prestigious institution, when christine mentioned it will be covered by c-span, i am eagerly got into an incredible panic. there is a tremendous sense of privilege one has when one is tasked with something like designing a congressional gold medal. a congressional gold medal is our nation's form of highest esteem for distinguished individuals, and also institutions. and it goes back to the founding of our nation. and so, it is a very daunting process to take on such a role. it is a lot of hard work. but it is also incredibly
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gratifying. especially when one gets a chance, as i have in my lovely wife suzanne had yesterday, to witness the recipients of the congressional gold medal in a ceremony which occurred yesterday for the monuments men. so my head and my heart, too, is spinning with the events of yesterday. because that particular congressional gold medal combines so many stories, stories of world war ii. a combines the horror and the terror that hitler and his minions had visited upon europe, and literally the world. it also involves heroic efforts that were up until very recently, untold and unsung of museum curators and architects
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and restorers and artists and sculptors and archivists. who took it upon themselves, they were in very comfortable lifestyles and had no need to be impressed into service, but in order to save the great cultural treasures of the world, they put life and limb and saved great treasures for posterity. i apologize. this is originally going to be the final piece. but we have just returned from this very moving ceremony. as i say, it is filling my mind and heart right now. this talk is, or slide presentation, is in a sense very
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formal. but in reality, when i took a look at the seven or so congressional gold medals that i intend to speak to you about this afternoon, i realize that each and every story was so complex and had such elaborate content and connection to so much history, that it would be literally impossible within the small amount of time we have this afternoon, allowing for some questions and answers at the end, to get into too much detail about each and every one. so, with that, my disclaimer is that i will show you the images and hopefully, if i have done my job properly, those images will speak for themselves to some extent. and i will have a very informal running commentary with each and every one, recounting some of the things that i remember that might be important and hopefully
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informative. it is interesting. david callan's introduction mentions general george washington. he was the first recipient of he medal. sometimes, legislation, as we know, takes a great deal of time. we have to be very patient before anything becomes a law. and in the case of these congressional gold medals, in our modern era, sometimes egislation takes eight or 10 years or more to get passed by both bodies of congress and signed by the president. then there is the process of creating the medal, in the purview of the mint, creating the treasury. i stand with you at the corner of wall street and alexander hamilton's bank.
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not many footsteps from trinity church, where alexander hamilton, our first secretary of treasury, is interred. none of this is lost on me as i go about taking these assignments. what is also not lost is this tradition, this lineage, this connectivity. i titled this exercise and looking at these special gold medals with you, "an artist's perspective." that is an amorphous and relative term. it is respective to the change of each individual's vantage point. but one of the things i take very much to heart when i am invited to submit a candidate for something like a
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congressional gold medal, or for any coin that there's an image emblematic of the united states of america, it is pretty aunting stuff. think back to the early days, really, of our nation. when the story goes that martha and george washington actually gave up their silverware. things were pretty sketchy back in the revolution. and there are stories, some are corroborated and some are not, they gave their own silverware to help create the bullion for our nation's pointed. nd there are scholars who know much better than i that the imagery that is set in buillon
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and on medal carries humankind's highest ideals. t carries images of exploits that are quite extraordinary by very distinguished, powerful, creative individuals trade it is all really very inspiring. there you see i put together some great founders, great visionaries. they put together this american experiment. and i've always been a great fan and a great admirer of course of abraham lincoln. i think like most of us, he has a close association because he really comes right out of the fabric of our society. where as a young fellow growing p in school, george washington always seemed so patrician. he changed so much of great
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britain, both in comportment and clothing and manner. but as i learned more and more bout washington, i was deeply, deeply impressed by what character and vision he showed. what restraint. t really set an incredibly powerful precedent for what we call the united states of america. e are really truly unique. last week -- are we losing the microphone? should i, should i put something? i will wait a second. not only did i, by the way,
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incidentally, completely off my notes -- i made voluminous notes. i doubt i will remember what i was saying. someone will have to remind me. hould i wait a little bit? or are you able to pick me up on his? ok, i was talking about george washington. and i was talking about the fact that the precedent, the epochal precedent he said, as i was contemplating, we are the only ation returned and repatriated what would ordinarily be spoils of war -- the great art and treasure of europe. we repatriated that not only to the rightful owners, we actually even included germany. so, anyways, there is a great deal of history and lineage that is not lost on me. hamilton approved coinage that
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in that day. the revolutionary era, it is something that is -- that must e ratified by both bodies of congress. once it is, it is up to the executive branch and the president of the united states signs it into being, into the law of the land. just as george washington did back in those days. one thing i did want to parenthetically insert about washington in terms of visionary, one of visionary he was, was that he insisted to others that his image not be used on the new coinage for our nation. and that is a very wise and owerful concept.
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because he insisted that if you put mine effigy on our coinage, you will make me a sovereign. and in this new land, this new experiment, it is the people who are sovereign. hat still functions today. it is sometime getting wild and woolly, and in an election cycle like we have, it is not always pretty. but the precepts the founders laid down are alive and ell. i can tell you as an american citizen, that the system of meritocracy is still alive. and without any special connections or insider advantages, i know personally that my art worked because of hitting the mark at certain points, he gets to be part of our nations history and heritage tself.
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which is very, very daunting for me. i will not bother with some of he verbiage. but basically, i was trying to talk about the process, which i think i alluded to. a goes on today -- it goes on today. alexander hamilton, the secretary, must sign any coinage into eternal life. sorry, i will go back. i will go back one more at a ime here for a second. and i just want to also parenthetically mentioned that i have also, besides having the great honor and privilege to work for the united states mint and take on these incredibly inspiring assignments, that through the air force art
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program and through the national art program, i have had the occasion and the privilege to travel with the united states air force to many different venues. and i have gotten the privilege of spending time down at asa. getting witness to a city of experts committed to incredible feats. and witnessed a couple of launches of the space shuttle. everything is connected, part of my perspective. and i think that informs a lot of what i do, certainly for the u.s. mint. the very first congressional gold medal that was ever accepted was for the women's air force service pilots. nd very often, by the way,
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another great thing about our nation is that we may not show gratitude to our men and women n uniform, or those who have done great service and achieved great things for humanity, but after 60-70 years, we come around. and we give credit where it is due. these women, these women, they flow marauders, which were nicknamed widow-makers. the pilots they were standing in for, so they could be assigned combat duty, they were afraid because it was nicknamed the widow-maker. these women, 25 of the wives of the pilots, work hand selected
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by jackie cochran. and they flew these b-26 planes and loved every minute. hey were incredible. my wife and i got to meet them ack in 2009. that is my drawing. in terms of process, it is a pencil drawing. it is not just one pencil, i might go through 45 different versions before i get it right. nd before a very elaborate process that vets the design, that it is right enough to be part of a design portfolio that makes it through the internal vetting process of the mint. it is quite complex, historical accuracy, manufacturability. then it goes to erudite national review boards.
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in the process is not over until the secretary of the treasury, pardon me i have been watching too many congressional hearings, the secretary of the treasury signs it into being. hen, there is the process that i will not go into, of sculpting the medal. we have, i am part of a group called the artistic infusion program, which began in 2013 by henrietta ford, a visionary woman in her own right. who wanted to democratize processing and printing the artist-citizen, invigorating the imagery on our coins and edals. this was altered by woman -- his was sculpted by a woman in
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philadelphia, a group that also submit design candidates, three-dimensional candidates, for consideration. i call her the donatello of philly. this is just another shot of my phone. when you shoot a three-dimensional bas-relief, very often, the lighting is very telling of a different story. this is just a shot of what a congressional gold medal ceremony looks like, when it is given to, you know, a group such as the woman's air force service pilots. incidentally, another thing that is not lost on me is that, in his day and age, also very
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edifying and wonderful, to see both sides of congress meet in perfect agreement over a perfectly well-deserved honor. t just does your heart good as american to see the leadership of congress recognizing these heroes, these people of great distinction, who have done great deeds and paid great sacrifices. and also does not hurt to see them ohh-ing and ahh-ing over my work. cannot help that. the woman in the middle there is jeannie parish. she accepted it on behalf of the entire community. all the medals i have done, the groups are recipients. they are collectively bestowed. the second congressional gold medal which was for soldiers of world war ii, this is an
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interesting and also very nuanced story. the backdrop was the attack of earl harbor. and fdr at the time saw fit under the circumstances to, with an executive order, incarcerate and inter people of japanese descent. he also simultaneously gave a second executive order, closer to his believes. hat no one should be judged on their citizenship or their american identity by race or color.


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